Sports were another way for him to communicate with other adolescents and expand his love for music. There were 15 bases in Italy, and sports participants got to travel to them. There were parties after the sporting events, which gave him a chance to communicate with others and share music. He said that all of the kids wanted to hear hip-hop and that they appreciated it more than kids in America because it wasn't "at their front door."
Hip-hop was his first love, but it is made up of other types of music, so it led to his exploration of things like Craftwork, James Brown, soul records and jazz. All of these just fueled the growth of Anthony's record collection, which continued to grow as he began his college education in San Francisco: an art degree from the Academy of Art (with a focus on illustration). He worked in a book shop while in school, fanning his love for literature. He said that the time was pre-internet and San Francisco was a hotbed for writing and creativity, which lured him into writing.
Anthony's paintings adorn the walls above the merchandise
He moved to Evansville, Ind. after college and then enrolled at University of Louisville as a Roman history major. He began working at ear X-tacy in 1999 and picked up a campus radio show called Rock n' Soul Revolution. He was able to get a demo of his show to WFPK programming director Dan Reed (now with World Café in Philly). Reed thought there was something to it and gave Anthony a WFPK slot from midnight to 6 a.m. Matt started to get a reaction, so they gave him the nightly 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. slot to play singer/songwriter and other “hodge-podge” stuff. He began his own Friday night show, The Sound Clash, about a year later. He got a little burnt out working so much, since he was also still working at ear X-tacy; he let go of the weeknight spot at WFPK
but continued to host The Sound Clash and still does. The show explores rhythms from all over the world and is aired on 91.9 WFPK on Fridays from 8 to 11 p.m.
Anthony chipped away at the idea of a jazz show for a while, wanting something he could really delve into. His efforts resulted in The Jazz Pulse, which began about a year ago and is featured on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. He said it's been rewarding but that he's had people say they like the jazz show better than the Sound Clash which made him step up his Friday night line-up.
“I take everything and put it together so it fits," he said about the Jazz Pulse. "I take everything in the Jazz spectrum and put it into one show. So, it’s not just big band or bebop or Dixieland…it covers the whole century in jazz. We got a hundred years there."
Anthony's record shop also sells vinyl records and plans a swap in the future.
As The Jazz Pulse took off, his career with ear X-tacy was coming to a close. The record industry really started crumbling in 2007 or 2008 and Anthony learned everything he could about buying. He upped his hours with ear X-tacy to full time and has worked just about every position the store offered. He and the other employees all wanted to see it survive. He also started DJing parties and events more since he was free from the nightly show at WFPK. He said that he believes ear X-tacy was really waiting for someone to save them or something to come along and save their model. No one seemed to believe that MP3s would become the standard. There are still a lot of people who don't believe the best way to collect music is on a hard drive that can be lost after spilling a soda on it. Once ear X-tacy began to try to make some changes, it was too late. They closed in December 2011.
"I always wanted my own record store, but I never wanted to compete with ear X-tacy and [the store's owner] John Timmons had always paid me so well, and been fair to me," said Anthony. "I just wanted to make that work. I figured I’d either help save it or be there on the ground floor when it closed."
Anthony bought a lot of the inventory and some of the shelving from ear X-tacy and opened his own shop six months later, on June 1 of this year. He said it was like the week before Christmas at ear X-tacy with a line there when he arrived at 5 p.m. to put his shipment out before the doors opened at 6 p.m. He was trying to get everything priced while people were lined up at the door, and the line continued all night.